Violent games banned at New Jersey library, anti-censorship group protests

By Dave Cook, Tuesday, 5 February 2013 09:14 GMT

This old thing again. Staff members have successfully petitioned to block the playing of shooter on computers at the Paterson Free Public Library in New Jersey. The petition comes over fear that violent titles are teaching kids bad behaviour. Let’s get on with then shall we?

Gamepolitics reports that library board member Irene Sterling said of the move, “We felt we should do everything we can to prevent our kids from learning these behaviors.”

The library’s director, Cindy Czesak added, “We feel a responsibility to the kids of the community.”

While shooters in the library would surely put people off their studies, there are questions being raised over who is playing these games. Think of it this way, you have a young child who is banned from violent games at his parents. So they sneak off to the library to play them.

However, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has sent a letter to the library criticising its decision. It has so far received many signatures from prominent lobby groups geared towards freedom of expression.

“It is no more acceptable for a library to ban access to certain kinds of video games than it would be to selectively remove other lawful materials. Library patrons,including young people, have a First Amendment right to make their own decisions about literature, art, informational materials, and entertainment without having those choices limited by the subjective views of library officials. Library officials attempt to justify their decision by claiming that they are acting in parens patriae.

“However, librarians are not baby-sitters, and they have no way to know that their views correspond with those of parents or guardians. Moreover, the policy apparently applies to patrons of all ages, including adults and minors who are accompanied by an adult.”

Both valid points on both sides? What’s your take? Let us know below.

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National Coalition Against Censorship

New Jersey

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Paterson Free Public Library